Dive Into The Beauty of Belize – Explore The Top 5 Dives Site
If you’re looking for stunning beaches, friendly locals, and most importantly unparalleled diving locations, then Belize is the place for you. Belize is the second smallest and least populated nation throughout Central America and is located between Guatemala and Mexico. Crammed full of adventure and exploration, both on land as well as under water, you will not fall short of things to do. Diving in Belize is an experience like no other, if you’re looking for large marine animals and stunning reef systems, make sure you make Belize your next diving destination.
Belize has an incredible coastline that stretches for 185 miles (300 km), so when you’re not diving or exploring the island, why not take some time out and relax on one of the picturesque, white sandy beaches?
Made up of over 400 islands, Belize is home to the longest, unbroken barrier reef in the western hemisphere, and provides some of the best dive sites found throughout the world. When you’re not diving or relaxing, take some time to visit the historical Mayan ruins, explore the rainforests, hike, and even enjoy the crazy experience of cave tubing.
There are so many incredible dive spots scattered throughout Belize, it is hard to choose only 5. So, if you’ve been to Belize, let us know what you think, in the comment box below. Here are our top 5 dive sites:
1. The Great Blue Hole
The Great Blue Hole is one of the most talked about diving destinations amongst divers and is classed as the ‘signature dive’ of Belize. The Great Blue Hole stretches over 984 ft (300m) across, is approximately 460 ft (140m) deep and forms an almost perfect circle.
This deep, blue sinkhole is only a day-trip away from most of the dive resorts, and is quite easy to get to, with most, if not all dive operators offering this spectacular dive location. However, if you’re planning to dive this wonder, then you should be prepared for a deep dive.
Upon entering the water with your dive guide, you almost immediately descend to around 460 ft (40m) (remember to check that you have insurance that covers you to this depth). Unfortunately, as you’re so deep, you only get a short amount of time (roughly 8 minutes) to explore the incredible stalactite formations, which are suspended from a cavern ceiling.
After the 8 minutes, you will start ascending up the wall to around 15m (50 ft), which is where the water changes from a saltwater top to a freshwater bottom. With this change comes beautiful marine life and corals, so expect to see bull sharks, midnight parrotfish, Caribbean reef sharks, and other juvenile fish species.
If you’re lucky, hammerhead sharks have been known to visit this area. Pederson’s cleaning shrimp are seen almost everywhere, inhabiting the ringed and knobby anemones. Neon gobies can be seen, inviting you to their cleaning stations as you pass by. Angelfish, butterfly fish and small groupers can also be found here swimming between the enormous purple sea fans and elkhorn corals.
Recommended Level of Training: Advanced, this dive site is not recommended for newbies or individuals who struggle with buoyancy control.
2. Gladden Spit
The Stann Creek District is where the coast begins to curve away from the barrier reef. This location is known for whale shark encounters around the dive sites off Gladden Spit. Gladden Spit is located near Placencia in Southern Belize. The best time to visit this location is between the months of April and June, where encounters with the largest fish in the ocean are almost guaranteed. If you’re looking for a ‘once in a lifetime’ experience, then this is the place to go.
Throughout these months, the whale sharks are calm and playful, allowing divers to approach as well as approaching dive boats and divers themselves. If you’re a budding photographer, then these gentle giants provide epic opportunities to test out your skills.
Not only will you see whale sharks, South Water Caye Marine Reserve has beautiful patch reefs, drop offs, walls, and spectacular coral formations.
Recommended Level of Training: Advanced, these dive sites are not recommended for newbies or individuals who struggle with buoyancy control.
3. Long Caye Wall, Glover’s Atoll
This dive site is classed as one of the top dive sites in Belize and it’s not hard to see why. At this location you will find lush coral growing in reef gullies, which lead to sheer drop-offs into the abyss. If you get to visit this site, look out for deep-water gorgonians, orange elephant ear sponges, and yellow tube sponges. Not only will you see stunning coral formations you’ll also see large schools of Atlantic spadefish, tarpon, and jacks. If you’re in the shallows, then look out for eagle rays, Southern stingrays, and hundreds of garden eels.
Recommended Level of Training: Open Water divers and above.
4. Hol Chan Marine Reserve, Ambergris Caye
Ambergris Caye is Belize’s largest island. It is located just offshore from the Village of San Pedro and is situated in the Hol Chan Marine Reserve. This Marine Park has extremely strict rules and regulations, which is a plus for visitors as it means that the corals and life throughout the reserve are protected and therefore healthy. It’s found in a deep cut within the barrier reef and is home to huge numbers of healthy corals, schools of grouper, barracuda, snapper, and jacks.
Recommended Level of Training: Beginners and above
5. The Elbow, Turneffe Atoll
This dive location is certainly remote, however this is not a bad thing when it comes to the health of the marine life and coral. The corals are in pristine condition providing an array of spectacular colours. Named because of a large twist within the coral structure, it looks similar to that of an elbow. Diving her
e is usually a drift dive, with the fast moving current attracting both large and small marine life including schools of Crevalle and horse-eye jacks. As you’re swept along the wall, over the abyss keep an eye out for Atlantic spadefish, Cubera Snapper, barracuda, as well as different species of sharks.
Recommended Level of Training: Advanced
General Information about Belize and Diving Belize
- Visibility: Generally the visibility is around 100 ft (30m) off the barrier reef; however visibility becomes a little less when inside the barrier reef.
- Water Temperature: Water temperature is warm throughout the summer at around 85°F (30°C). Throughout the winter, it is still pretty warm at around 79°F (26°C).
- Weather: It’s warm in Belize pretty much all year around, especially along the coastline. Belize has two seasons, wet and dry. The summer months tend to be the wet season, however rainfall varies depending on where you are in the country. The wet season consists of periodic showers, normally during the night. The rain showers during the day are usually brief and tend not to hinder outdoor activities.
- Best Time to Visit: The best time to visit Belize is between the months of November to May, which is the country’s dry season. However, if you want to see the incredible wildlife that Belize has to offer, both on land and under the water, then plan your travels between the months of May and August.
- Marine Life: Throughout the months of June to August, sea turtles nest on the white sandy beaches and from April to June, whale shark sightings are common along the southern barrier reef. There are approximately 70 different kinds of hard coral found throughout the ocean surrounding Belize, with over 400 different species for fish. Keep a lookout for sharks, large schools of fish, and various different kinds of ray.